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With a focus on costume, to what extent does clothing represent the social norms of the time (in particular late 20th Century fashion) and how does it affect the modern-day wearer of vintage fashion?

Bachelors Degree Dissertation, 2017

The essay sets out to explore the degree to which society influences clothing and the wearer, hence clothing acting as an era-specific artefact. Using 1960s and 1970s fashion as case studies, the essay argues that vintage clothing remains an artefact of the original era it was worn in and carries those same cultural values to the present era. The essay examines the signs and signifiers modern-day wearers of vintage clothing portray and potentially endorse by wearing vintage fashion. It will argue that when dealing with vintage clothing, there cannot be a superficial style without the underlying messages and substance that is carried through from the original era. This essay also assesses what this substance is and how this affects not only vintage fashion nowadays, but how it seeps into modern fashion. Appadurai’s theory of ‘Imagined Nostalgia’ is used, within the realm of vintage clothing and the importance nostalgia theory holds when understanding the relevance and motivation is has to the modern wearer. Heike Jenss’ various papers will act as a theoretical base of my Research Project, as her work looks into vintage fashion and the theory behind its current place in modern-day society and the messages it transfers.

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